IMMIGRANT: Hay(na)ku & Other Poems In A New Land


(Moria Books / Locofo Chaps, Chicago, 2017)

A free .pdf read is available at the publisher’s site HERE.

A Print Copy is available for $5.00 at the publisher’s LULU account HERE.



Could you share with us a representative or pivotal poem (or excerpt) from your chapbook? Perhaps something that introduces the work of the chapbook, or that invites the reader into the world of the chapbook?

I intended, and hopefully it succeeds, that the chap’s first poem presents such an invitation. In part, this reflects the nature of the chap—because of its slimness, I thought there’d be more chance (than in a thicker, full-length book) that a reader might read it chronologically from the first to the last page. So I wanted the opening poem, “South of ___ (fill in the blank)” to be an invitation; indeed, it ends with

“… hold my hand as the day unfolds.

To hold my hand
simply offer an uplifted palm
and trust in my response.”

Why did you choose this poem (or excerpt)?

I chose it, and the three poems following it, because they are from my first (and now-out-of-print) chap After The Egyptians Determined The Shape of the World is a Circle which was issued in 1996. I wanted to present poems from the beginning of my writing life to the present (the chap ends with a recent poem). By spanning the entirety of my writing life, I wanted that span to mirror the “life” of the collection’s protagonist, who—as noted in the title—is an immigrant. I tinker a lot with subverting the form of (auto)biography and this chap’s persona is an immigrant poet who, as it turns out, not just writes poems but contributes to poetry by enlarging its expanse, specifically by inventing a new poetry form. That poetry form is called “hay(na)ku” and its core is a tercet with the first line being one word, the second line being two words, and the third line being three words. So the poet’s contribution is an example of the theme of how immigrants contribute to the “land” where they emigrate—an important reminder given the current heightened attacks on immigrants and refugees.